By DAVID IORJA
The Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to rise to the occasion and put an end to the on-going genocidal situation in Benue State. The Paramount ruler, who only last week buried 73 of his subjects killed in Guma and Logo local government areas of the state by armed Fulani herdsmen on January 2, told President Buhari on Monday that his entire domain had been thrown into mourning due to the incessant attacks.
Prof. Ayatse spoke when a delegation of political leaders, traditional rulers and elders of Benue state led by Governor Samuel Ortom, visited the President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. “We want you to put an end to the gruesome situation,’’ said the Tor Tiv who had earlier called on the President personally pay a condolence visit the state over the brutal murder of the defenceless farmers, women, children and the aged in Guma and Logo by the marauding herdsmen.
Receiving the delegation, President Buhari called on the government and people of Benue State to exercise restraint following the recent attacks on some communities, assuring that all the perpetrators of violence in the state will be made to face the wrath of the law. He promised that all those involved in the conflict that culminated in loss of lives would not escape justice, including any illegally armed militia in the state. The President commiserated with all the victims of the attacks, and the families who lost loved ones and properties, noting that the government would make efforts to ameliorate the situation of all the victims.
President Buhari said relevant agencies had been directed to start catering for the humanitarian needs. “Your Excellency, the governor, and all the leaders here, I am appealing to you to try to restrain your people. I assure you that the Police, the Department of State Security and other security agencies had been directed to ensure that all those behind the mayhem get punished. “I ask you in the name of God to accommodate your country men. You can also be assured that I am just as worried, and concerned with the situation,’’ he said. The President told the delegation that his administration had already begun a process of finding lasting solution to the perennial challenge of herdsmen conflict with farmers and communities around the country.
President Buhari said the Inspector General of Police had been directed to relocate to the state to provide security for lives and properties, urging all Benue indigenes to trust the security agencies and report all suspicious cases of movements in the state. In his remarks, the Benue State Governor said the tension would be reduced with the Federal Government’s intervention to find a lasting solution to the herdsmen attacks.
“We will leave here to rebuild confidence in our people,’’ Ortom said. Present at the meeting were Benue State Deputy Governor, Benson Abounu, former Senate President, David Mark, former Benue State Governor, Sen. George Akume and Sen. Barnabas Gemade. Others include Sen. JK Waku, Gen. Lawrence Onoja (rtd), Brig. Gen. John Atom Kpera (rtd), former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Michael Aondoakaa, Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Terkimbir Kyambe, and other members of the National and State Assembly from the State.